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Current Research: Topics and Interests

I investigate the diversity and community composition of eukaryotic microorganisms in forest soils and the canopy region. Eukaryotic microorganisms, i.e. Protists, are the base of all multicellular life on earth, which independently evolved in four of the 19 major protist phyla. Recent progress in molecular methods for the first time opens a window into the black box of protistan diversity. The ecosystem of forest canopies not only contain an exceptional diversity of microhabitats for microorganisms, but more importantly represent the largest interface between earth and atmosphere, regulating gas exchange and evaporation on regional scales. My PhD studies focus on advanced cultivation-independent high throughput sequencing methods for a comprehensive assessment of protist diversity across all ecological compartments. My research contributes to a Priority Programme SPP (1991), which is funded by the DFG.

Priority Programme ”Taxon-Omics: New Approaches for Discovering and Naming Biodiversity“ (SPP 1991)

Taxonomy is the science most directly relevant for documenting and understanding changes in biodiversity, whether from species loss or from species introduction. Over the past decade, progress in molecular methods led to a major transition towards an integrative taxonomy and giving deeper insights on the evolution of species and the composition of their communities. Research in this Priority Programme encompasses modern taxonomic approaches to discover, name, and quantify organismal diversity as the basis for documenting, assessing, and mitigating changes in biodiversity.

Homepage: www.taxon-omics.com